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You must be in fellowship prior to your Bible study, so that the spiritual information you receive can become a source, of blessing to your soul and produce spiritual growth.

1 John 3:16-17

16 Hereby [en] [touto] perceive we [ginosko] the love [agape] of God, because [hoti] he [ekeinos] laid down [tithemi] his [autos] life [psuche] for [huper] us [hemon]: and [kai] we [hemeis] ought [opheilo] to lay down [tithemi] our lives [psuche] for [huper] the brethren [adelphos].
17 But [de] whoso [hos] [an] hath [echo] this world's [kosmos] good [bios], and [kai] seeth [theoreo] his [autos] brother [adelphos] have [echo] need [chreia], and [kai] shutteth up [kleio] his [autos] bowels [splagchnon] of compassion from [apo] him [autos], how [pos] dwelleth [meno] the love [agape] of God [theos] in [en] him [autos]? KJV-Interlinear

16 We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoever has the world's goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in Him? NASB

Thus far John has used several contrasting terms to illustrate and define the environments in which you might live your life. Light and darkness illustrate the exclusiveness of being in fellowship or out of fellowship. We have also in our study used the terms spiritual and carnal to illustrate these two different environments.

John has also used abiding in eternal life for living your life in fellowship, as opposed to not dwelling in eternal life, or not living your life in fellowship.

John also uses the love hate contrast to distinguish your mental attitude in each respective life style. Love which is 'agape' here used, is the consistent application of poise, compassion, tolerance, charity, adherence to principle and so forth when interacting with people in general.

Hate is the opposite attitude. Even indifference is an application of hate in that when Gods principles of life are rejected then one, by default, subscribes to the pattern of thought which Satan invented, 'I do not need God to teach me anything. I can do things on my own.' And so forth.

So now we have the mental attitude which takes one to the ends of his own life. Are you willing to lay down your life for the benefit of others? Are you willing to give up your life style in the sin nature for the straight and narrow life style taught in the Bible? Are you willing to share of that which God gives you, for the perpetuation of the teaching of the Word of God, on the one hand, and for the charitable needs of those who are in need, on the other hand?

Or, are you going to live in a state of selfishness, of greediness, of making up excuses as to why you do not want to or cannot fulfill these obligations, for others? Do you take and not give? Do expect things to be given to you and not expect any form of repayment for that which you receive?

Are you bitter for whatever reason? Are you critical of others? Are you opinionated? Are you closed minded or narrow minded?

If any of these apply, then you probably would not make the ultimate sacrifice for others, since your loss to yourself if more important than your sense of duty to others. That said, then your life is functioning in darkness, and not in the light as you probably presume.

Again, we put together a check list for evaluating your own spiritual life. It is not a perfect list but it will make a good start for self evaluation. If you can find an excuse for any item on that list (find that list on the web site), then you have a lot of growing up to do.

Your own priority should be tuned toward growing up spiritually. God will provide for whatever your physical needs are. Be responsible and not irresponsible in your dealings in life. If pressures arise, then trust in God and allow Him to work things out for you. Do not panic, and do not become sarcastic or bitter in life.

Treasure your spiritual growth more than the things of this world. Prosperity and blessing will accompany your advancement toward spiritual maturity. But remember too that this is the devils world and problems will also accompany your growth.

Better to have problems which are meant to test your faith because you are advancing obediently in your spiritual life, than to have problems which are meant for discipline due to your disobedience.

Study and learn, and above all, think about what you learn each day, and then apply your learning to your daily life. Be charitable, and sharing, and caring and responsible, rather than selfish and opportunistic.

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Study to show thyself approved (mature) unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing (studying/discerning), the Word of truth.

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